The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the deepest teams in the NFL over the last few years, as they’ve made the trip to three consecutive NFC championships and one Super Bowl. Next season, even with pro bowlers throughout the whole roster, one of their biggest stars may be lurking in the shadows after never playing a snap in the NFL.
Marcus Lattimore, who was drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round of last year’s draft, has yet to take a live handoff since dislocating his knee and tearing three ligaments during his final year at South Carolina.
Prior to that, Lattimore had been praised as one of the best running back prospects heading into the draft. Unfortunately, as this was his second major knee injury in as many years, many front offices began questioning whether Lattimore would ever regain the level of play he had shown. Some even wondered if he would ever play again.
The 49ers may have gambled on Lattimore, but after essentially redshirting this year, the young running back and his head coach have faith he will be back and ready to play at the start of next season.
“I’d say about December, I felt like I could’ve played,” Lattimore told local media. “I know I’m going to be ready physically (for the offseason program). I’m going to be excited and just be myself.”
As for Jim Harbaugh, he said, “I think this has been an outstanding year for Marcus. Tough at times, but I think great things will happen for him.”
Lattimore’s return for the 2014 season may end up being just in time for the 49ers. Frank Gore has been the longtime bell cow for San Francisco, but he will be turning 31 over the offseason and showed some of that age during their postseason run this year. Aside from a 39-yard run against the Panthers, Gore only averaged about two and a half yards a carry during their three playoff games.
Lattimore still has a lot of hard work ahead of him, but his future definitely looks bright. On a team like San Francisco, which greatly values their running backs, he could be the piece that finally pushes them over the top.
The 49ers injury update is right here.